Tag Archives: sinter pressed

Heavy Duty Synthetic Ice

heavy duty synthetic ice

SmartRink is a company that actually does have a heavy duty synthetic ice system. Other companies may call their system “heavy duty” or “commercial” synthetic ice…but those interested really need to know what to ask the venders of so called “heavy duty” synthetic ice. They can call it whatever they want to but please don’t embarrass anymore by continuing to call your product “heavy duty” becasue very simply it isn’t.

The strength of conversely the weakness of any synthetic ice system is both the material and the connection system. First of all let’s focus on the connection system. A dovetail system is not a heavy duty system. It does not matter if it has a patent or not. Having a patent does not make it heavy duty. Having a connection system that won’t come apart is a step in the right direction however. Dovetail or jigsaw connection joints are very common. They have decent horizontal pull out strength but they have almost no vertical strength in terms of coming apart.

In terms of shear strength, there is absolutely no equal on the market today of the SmartRink H-Tongue Heavy Duty connection system. Any company out – please take on the challenge – we’ll do a test anytime for vertical pull out strength. The only product that might come marginally close would be those companies using the plug / dowel / flat tongue connection system. We have used that as well but in a large scale project it’s not practical becuase of the time it takes install it. But it does do the job quite well.

The second criteria for being “heavy duty” is the material. North American sellers use extruded sheet material. Extruded material simply wears out faster. Any standard industry lab test shows this. The results are clear. Sinter pressed sheets kick the heck out of extruded sheets anytime in any test. The simple reason being is that sinter pressed sheets can use a much higher molecular weight resin. It’s far more abrasion resistant and will therefore last far longer.

So the next time you see a seller of synthetic ice claiming to have heavy duty panels you’ll know what to ask about. Chances are they will just start dropping their prices because they know they can’t compete in this category unless they are much less expensive – and even then it’s comparing apples to oranges.

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Synthetic ice connection systems

One of the single largest myths out there about synthetic ice is that one connection system can do it all. That is absolutely not the case. If it was a perfect world and all installations were on a laser levelled cement surface it would still not suffice for any one system to do it all. A couple products come close but at the end of the day there is no one synthetic ice connection system that does it all.

Almost any company that offers a synthetic ice product for sale carries a “dovetail” or dovetail like product. These product typically go together like puzzle pieces. They are great for home owners or even light duty commercial applications. The achilles heel of this connection system is that they do not have much or in most cases lack vertical pull out strength. Vertical pull out strength is measured as the force required to separate vertically a dovetail synthetic ice panel joint. A couple companies have attempted to improve the system with various degrees of success but the fact remains that most of these products are not well suited to outside environments or even inside environments where the temperature fluctuates widely.

SmartRink sells a dovetail panel like almost every other synthetic ice seller out there. But we also sell an H-Spline system, a flat tongue spline system, a flat tongue and dowel system, and a Hybrid-Lock system. Each of these synthetic ice connection systems have advantages and disadvantages. Some are better suited to certain applications and environments than others. Some offer incredible pull out strength and some offer the ability to easily lock and secure hockey lines and markings. At SmartRink it simply is not acceptable to think that one panel can do it all.

I can tell you first hand about application horror stories where the client was told a certain system would work and how it failed miserably. You just want to ever be in that situation – especially for a commercial synthetic rink where it may be your business that depends on how the synthetic ice connection system performs.

There is no magic here. There is a great deal of marketing and sales BS going on out there. People need to research all the variables. The synthetic ice connection system is one they need to be thinking about.

If you find yourself in this situation, please contact us at SmartRink and see how we can custom fit your application to one of our many type of synthetic ice connection systems.

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Synthetic ice by SmartRink. What makes our synthetic ice different?

SmartRink synthetic ice panels are sinter pressed. That means not only will our panels be more durable over the long term but they also deliver superior skating performance!

There is a big debate in snowboarding and skiing circles about sinter pressed bases verses extruded bases for skis and snowboards. The same debate needs to be held for synthetic ice.

Sinter pressed sheet material has several main advantages over extruded material. First and foremost is that a higher molecular weight resin may be used for sinter pressing. The higher molecular weight resin ultimately produces a panel that is not only more abrasion resistant but will also offer superior skating (glide) performance over an extruded sheet.

Extruded sheet is limited in that the extrusion process is not able to use higher molecular weight resin, it just does not work. So when a sheet is extruded it can only use certain grades of resin. This accounts for why an extruded sheet tends to “shed” a lot of pastic residue while being skated on. This not only creates more maintenance work, but it also means the panel is wearing out more quickly.

Simple lab tests by any sheet manufacturer will attest that a higher molecular weight product is far more abrasion resistant than a lower molecular weight product. This test can be then be used to determine what a skate blade over the long term might do to a panel. One common such test is known as the sand slurry test.

Read more about the research we’ve put into our SmartRink synthetic ice rinks.

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